Committee investigates dead pigeons to rule out bird flu

The junta in Castile and Leon confirmed that samples of dead pigeons had been sent for analysis to rule out the possibility that they were infected with bird flu. Although the city council and the Segovia Veterinary College agreed that heatstroke was the most likely cause of death, the discovery of several of the bird’s dead bodies in some neighborhoods of the city has alarmed residents.

Over the weekend, there was a surge of dead pigeons around the botanic gardens, but it is not ruled out that there are also dead pigeons in other parts of the capital. Between August 4 and 8, local police delivered some specimens to the Wildlife Recovery Center (CRAS Los Lavaderos), which is affiliated with the military government. Staff have collected this information for analysis and are awaiting results. These can only confirm or rule out the presence of avian influenza in the birds, but not other possible causes such as poisoning.

The samples were transferred to the Animal Health Laboratory under the Territory’s Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development to rule out the possibility of bird flu infection in the pigeons. The military junta’s territorial mission in Segovia clarified that since they are dead birds, although the numbers are unknown, the “usual control programs” for the disease have been applied. In turn, he argues that pigeons are not “the most dangerous group” compared to other species in wet areas.

Some testimonies from neighbors near the Arboretum suggest that there is a degree of concern that these bodies were found on sidewalks, tree wells, bushes, gardens, parking lots, and even patios. They also observed “strange” behavior of the pigeons, as if they were not “frightened when someone approached” and were not dying, but were hiding in front of houses, unable to move. “I wonder if they have any viruses or bacteria,” said a St Thomas Street resident.

heat stroke

City civic groups asked the Council of Elders for an explanation on the matter. The local government responded that no action was planned. The specimens are regularly observed by Halconeros de Castilla, the city’s company in charge of bird monitoring or pest control. As a result, some of the catches related to this alert were not related to any type of illness, municipal sources explained, and they attributed the deaths to the heat.

City council and veterinarians agree heat may have contributed to death

The Veterinary School of Segovia was not aware of these events and has not received information about the investigation of the collected specimens. José Miguel Gill, the association’s president, insisted that “water sources are now full of pigeons,” suggesting that high temperatures may have contributed to the rise in deaths. “The same thing happened in other cities, like Madrid,” he declared.

Likewise, he explained, these urban birds may carry other diseases that are not transmissible to humans. All this “was practically impossible” when the protocols for controlling and isolating pigeon flu were applied. But if a positive case is confirmed, “we’ll know immediately,” he clarified.

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